WILLIAMSON – On Sept. 4, well ahead of the 30 day deadline from the adoption of Williamson City Council’s water rate hike, concerned citizens and customers mailed a protest petition to the West Virginia Public Service Commission.
The petition alleges that an increase of nearly 50 percent will create an undue burden on the customers involved.
“As of Thursday, September 3, we had nearly 1,000 signatures,” said Teresa McCune, who along with several other community members, including Shawn Williamson, pictured mailing the petition to Charleston, were involved in the signature drive.
If the Public Service Commission finds that 25 percent of Williamson Water customers have added their names to the petition a case will be opened, assigned a case number and an attorney from the PSC.
Last month, the Williamson Utility board proposed an ordinance for the rate increase in an effort to get out of the $1.2 million debt with Veolia Water, and maintain a working cash reserve that will allow the city to be in accordance to Senate Bill 234.
Senate Bill 234 went into effect June 12, 2015 and requires that the city build an emergency revenue fund of $150,000.
The rate for water may increase by 31.2 percent and the sewer rate may increase by 17.5 percent. Additional surcharges may also be added to the monthly utility bill on top of the high percentage rate raise of $1.50 per every $1,000 gallons of water and $2.55 per every 1,000 gallons of sewer.
The surcharges will be applied to utility bills for the next three years. After three years, the surcharges would be dropped but the percentage rate increase would remain.